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Friday, 28 June 2013

A Very Special Friday with Nerissa of Adventures in Integration

I am so honoured to have the wonderful Nerissa guest post for me! Nerissa is a fellow expat in the Netherlands and runs the already aclaimed blog called Adventures in Integration. I say acclaimed becuase it has brough her many awards and prices. I hope that one day I will meet her in person! Nerissa also runs International Almere where she kindly republishes my blog posts and has recently started a little business as MissNeriss, selling crocheted, beautiful baby clothes, accessoires and toys. Come over and say "hi!".

Sliding Doors

It was December 27, 2002.  I was visiting my boyfriend, blissfully happy and looking forward to the future.  Completely out of the blue he took my heart and smashed it into a million pieces.  He couldn’t give me a reason why, but proceeded to string me along for six more months leading me to believe that there was a chance we would get back together and live happily ever after.

More than ten years later I realise that day way back in 2002 was my sliding doors moment.  Remember that movie where Gwyneth Paltrow lives two lives in parallel and sports two equally horrific haircuts?  It was the moment in time where my life could have gone in two completely different directions.  The boyfriend may never have dumped me and I would be living in western Victoria (which is proper duelling banjo country) living in some sort of shack with several kids and spending my time equally between cropping, shearing and panicking about the lack of rain.

But instead I spent six long months nursing a broken heart.  I cried a lot, I drank even more.  I think I may have begged him to take me back more than twice.  But I pulled through it.  I jumped on a plane with my best friend and we went to New Zealand.  We scored crappy jobs and had the time of our lives.

After eight months I came home and set myself a goal:  I was going to be a tour guide by the beginning of 2005.  And I did it.  I moved to Alice Springs, I spent eighteen months taking tours to Uluru and the Flinders Ranges with Adventure Tours Australia and I found myself.  

Although I knew who I was by then, I wasn’t completely fulfilled.  My solution was to book myself a one way ticket and fly to England for a year to look at castles and explore medieval history.  One year stretched into two (including a year-long stint in my favourite city on earth, Edinburgh) and I saw and reported on so many castles that my family stopped reading my emails!  

In that time I reconnected with one of my passengers from my tour guide days and we fell head over heels in love.  All of a sudden it was 2008 and I was moving to the Netherlands to live with my boyfriend, buying a house, getting married and having a baby, all in another language.

So I often think:  What if that boyfriend hadn’t dumped me?  I like to think that I would have realised very quickly that we were very unsuited and continued on my life’s journey, but maybe, like Gwyneth, I wouldn’t have.  Perhaps I would have turned a blind eye to our differences and buried my own ambitions.  Lord knows I was prepared to do anything to keep him in my life back then.  Would I have gone to New Zealand, or would my grand adventure have been sheep shearing in the middle of nowhere at Commonwealth Hill station as he wanted me to do?

All I really have to say to him now is:  Thank you for breaking my heart.  It was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Here I am as a tour guide in Central Australia

Would I have ever got to hang out here (Uluru) on a regular basis if it wasn’t for my sliding doors moment?

Or here?  My home in England was only an hour or so from Stonehenge, one of the most incredible places on earth.

[profile.jpg] Nerissa is an Australian import bride living in the Netherlands since May 2008 with her gorgeous husband (she says he really is, she's not exaggerating or anything!). She created this blog to document her personal experience with the compulsory integration courses for people in her position. Now the compulsory part is over, she is busy getting on with integrating properly...Visit Nerissa's blog over at Adventures in Integration, but also check out her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter

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  1. Loved this Miss Neriss, great post. Things happen for a reason, and you've seen all the wonderful growth and good times that have happened as a result of that temporary pain.

    1. Hi Linda, good to hear from you! I actually became an expat for a very similar reason. In that moment, we may not know this, but in hindsight, it actually kind of makes sense!

    2. Thanks Linda, that means a lot!

      I have come to believe that things definitely happen for a reason and I'm truly grateful for having my heart broken.

    3. Nerissa, thank you for commenting. While I don't think that things happen for a reason (because things just happen and we assign reason to them), but in your case it was just perfect!


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